Attorney Brian Jorde was able to negotiate a $20,000 payment from the state
and a $280,000 payment from the City of Omaha for the family of a woman
killed in a crash involving a city vehicle.
After the Rea family lost their loved one in a tragic
car accident, they turned to Attorney Brian Jorde of Domina Law Group. Alicia Rea was
tragically killed after colliding with a City of Omaha Vehicle. Through
effective representation, Jorde was able to negotiate a $20,000 payment
for the family from the State of Nebraska as well as a $280,000 payment
from the City of Omaha.
Although the City of Omaha admits no wrongdoing, they did agree to the
terms of the settlement, which not only included the monetary award, but
an agreement to change certain policies. One of the major changes agreed
to in the settlement is implementing brighter flashing lights on all city trucks.
Commenting on the case, Jorde said, “There are reasons we have road
work safety policies and procedures in place. Drivers expect certain indicators
to be present signaling construction.”
The fatal accident occurred nearly five years ago near West Maple Road and 124
th Street. Read the below press release for more information.
City of Omaha and State of Nebraska Settle Tragic Death Lawsuit
Settlement Includes Financial and Non-financial Terms
OMAHA, Neb. – The legal battle over the tragic death of Alicia M. Rea, age 24, in October
2010 is over. The last element of settlement, payment to Ms. Rea's
family by the State of Nebraska on behalf of the Nebraska Department Roads
has been satisfied. In exchange, Ms. Rea's family will voluntarily
dismiss their case in the next week.
On October 20, 2010, City of Omaha road crews, under a contract with the
State to perform road work and pothole repairs on State Highways, were
dispatched to work on Maple St, a/k/a Highway 64, near 127
th Street in west Omaha. Just after 11am a fatal crash occurred when Alicia
Rea's car collided with a stationary work vehicle stopped in the left
hand lane of west bound traffic. The work vehicle was not fitted with
adequate high-intensity lighting, warning signs, arrow panels, reflective
cones, or safety devices necessary to effectively warn drivers.
"Driver expectancy" was a key concept in the case. Brian Jorde,
Domina Law Group lawyer for the Rea family, stated, "There are reasons
we have road work safety policies and procedures in place – to protect
the public and the workers involved in this dangerous work. Drivers are
conditioned and expect certain indicators to be present signaling construction
activities are taking place. At the time of the accident there were insufficient
warning devices to adequately alert drivers like Ms. Rea."
Discovery in the case included investigating Ms. Rea's vehicle's
black box for crash related data, Verizon Wireless records, Research in
Motion (Blackberry) records, and a deposition of Facebook in Palo Alto,
California, among countless other depositions. This discovery showed Ms.
Rea was not using her smart phone immediately prior to or at the time
of the collision. There was no evidence of driver distraction.
Several near misses occurred the prior day and the day of the accident
in the same stretch of road. Many of these witnesses came forward and
provided testimony of their experiences hours and minutes before the accident.
Some described the collision site as 'an accident waiting to happen.'
Mr. Rea, father of Alicia, has no words to express the loss of his daughter
in the prime of her life who was the true definition of the All-American
girl – always positive and motivating those around her, volunteering
in her free time and giving of herself for the benefit others. At the
same time, the Rea family is thankful for the witnesses who came forward
and shared facts that helped resolve this case.
In Nebraska, wrongful death cases brought by parents of unmarried young
adults are incredibly frustrating as our law does not specifically provide
the parents with a mechanism to recover for their "pain and suffering"
or general damages related to the loss of their child and focuses more
on the economic relationship between parent and child.
After 4 years, the City of Omaha, State of Nebraska, and the Rea Family
agreed to settle the case after a few months of negotiations. The terms
of the settlement reflect the Rea's intense desire to prevent families
in the future from experiencing their ultimate loss of a child. The atypical
settlement terms consisted of $300,000 paid to Alicia's parents and
key non-financial commitments important to the Rea Family. The City of
Omaha entered into a Consent Decree and agrees:
- To conduct annual training for all City workers involved in state highway
maintenance regarding the provisions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic
Control Devices ("MUTCD").
This annual training shall be known as:
- Safe Drivers
- Safe Riders
- Safe Workers
- The Alicia Marie Rea training program—zero accidents—zero deaths
- That any new truck that will be used for maintenance on arterial streets
with speed limits of 45mph or greater shall be equipped with high-intensity
- To, at City expense, retrofit high-intensity flashing lights on any truck
owned by the City that will be used in mobile operation repair activities
on arterial streets with speed limits of 45mph or greater.
- To update its repair procedures for work on arterial streets with speed
limits of 45mph or greater as guided by the MUTCD.
- To consult with the State of Nebraska Department of Roads regarding operational
procedures with respect to state highway mobile operations maintenance.
Victim Did Not Survive Crash
Family Suing City Claiming Wrongful Death
Alicia Marie Rea Obituary